7 Resources to Help You Advance Your Inbound Marketing Knowledge Online

October 14, 2014 Jonathan Pavoni

163018792The marketing landscape has evolved so dramatically in the last 15 years that it almost feels like a different discipline. The strategies to grow your business, and the tactics to promote your products and services have completely shifted.

Marketers now need to be able to attract strangers from the search engines, educate leads on-demand, and assist sales in closing deals in a timely fashion. This new world necessitates a new set of skills.

In this blog post I would like to discuss the expertise required, and the resources available to help marketers develop a competitive skill set. The great news is that there are on-demand courses that will help you learn this new craft without breaking the bank.

The New Education Model

As it has done with some many other things, the Internet has democratized education. It’s allowing anyone with a wifi connection access to the best professors and the best content at anytime, regardless of where they are in the world. This trend is starting to destabilize both traditional education and vocational education models. 

So as you read through this blog post, think about the benefits of an educational model where you pay a fraction of the cost, while simultaneously getting your training on-demand and in the privacy of your own home. Now let’s look at some of the free and low subscription services below that can help you develop your inbound education on a shoestring budget.

Attracting Prospects

As marketers one of the most demanding parts of our job is delivering consistent leads to sales. The question becomes what are the strategies and tactics to attract leads to your business? Additionally, what are the skills marketers need to start enticing prospects to their own companies?

Search-engine-marketing: Google Adwords and MOZ

As a marketer one of the most important skills to perfect is learning how to elevate your organization in the search engines. Developing these skills will be a mix of: on-page SEO, off-page SEO and paid search. If you’re looking to develop skills in this area some great resources for you are the Google Adwords Education Center, and MOZ Academy.

Social Media: HubSpot Marketing Library

As social media has moved mainstream the demand for marketers who can garner new fans, followers and evangelists has increased exponentially. Today’s marketers must know how to capture attention and migrate casual social media visitors to their own corporate websites and landing pages. For marketers that are looking to self educate on generating leads with social media check out the resources in the HubSpot Marketing Library.

Educating Prospects

The disruptive impact of the internet has completely altered the way that consumer and organizations interact with each other. Consumers now have access to a host of information on any product, service or company of interest.

This change has altered that way that marketers interact with their prospects and customers. Marketing’s job is primarily to teach and educate prospects as they move through the stages of the funnel. To do that effectively marketers need to promote their content digitally. Let’s look at some of the skills necessary to be effective:

Content Creation: Udemy

At the heart of educating prospects and customers is content marketing. Content of all types: blogs, e-books, videos and customer testimonials. Today’s marketers must be competent writers & editors.

The ability to tell stories, communicate your brand message, and connect with customers and prospects is a must for the modern day marketer. A great educational resource for marketers looking to advance their writing skills is Udemy.

Converting Leads: General Assembly and Teamtreehouse

Content promotion is the art of “merchandising your content” in a way that makes it desirable for visitors to click-on, download, or share with their friends. Promoting your content takes many forms, the chief of which is the design and layout of your website and landing pages. In today’s economy your website is the face of your company.

The way it looks and feels will leave a lasting impression on your prospects whether positive or negative. So learning how create engaging websites and landing pages is essential for marketers working for large and small brands. Some of my favorite resources for learning how to create beautiful websites are General Assembly and Teamtreehouse.

Closing Customers

The final stage of the marketing process is closing customers. While this might initially sound like a sales function, as you’ll see marketing plays a significant role in helping clients close.

Traditionally, any individual that filled out a form, visited a trade-show booth, or downloaded a white paper was a lead that would be expediently sent to sales. In this traditional model, there was very little analysis on where the prospect was in the purchase funnel.

This resulted in wasted sales rep time, and ineffective conversations between the sales person and the prospect. These problems if distilled down are marketing failures. Leads were being sent to sales too quickly resulting in bad outcomes. Let’s look at the marketing skills necessary to better help sales close leads.

Marketing Automation: HubSpot Marketing Library

Amongst other things, this category of software helps marketers better score and segment leads in real time. It does this by tracking and assigning point values to things like: prospect web page visits, content downloads, and video views.

Having the ability to score leads ensures that only the highest quality leads make it to the sales rep’s desk. A great resource for learning about the marketing automation software category is the HubSpot Marketing Library.

Lead Recycling: Salesforce

Regardless of how closely tied your marketing and sales departments are, no organization closes 100% of the leads that they generate. So smart marketers are instituting lead recycling programs, where sales can send “closed-lost” leads back over the wall to marketing for more nurturing.

Marketers then need to be able to message these “closed-lost” leads with relevant and timely content. A great resource to learn how to create lead recycling and nuturing programs is the Salesforce.com blog.

Conclusion

It’s clear that the marketing landscape has shifted dramatically. The resulting shift mandates a new set of skills for those of us that are marketing products and services on a day to day basis. The encouraging news is that learning these skills is doable through both free and subscription based education websites.

This new way of acquiring the skills necessary to improve your career is drastically cheaper, more relevant, and more convenient than a traditional college experience. So be proactive about learning the new set of required skills. Doing so will help you put your career track on a path for exponential growth!

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